Beyond the gothic confines of Yale, he was becoming one of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam, drawing a tide of followers in the fundamentalist movement known as Salafiya. To many young Muslims wrestling with conflicts between faith and country, Qadhi was a rock star. To law-enforcement agents, he was also a figure of interest, given his prominence in a community considered vulnerable to radicalization. Some officials, noting his message of nonviolence, saw him as an ally. Others were wary, recalling a time when Qadhi spouted a much harder, less tolerant line. On this night, however, it was Qadhi’s closest followers who were questioning him.
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